At the Chamber Music Concert

May 1, 2006
Volume 23, Issue 6

Poetry from Dr Richard M. Berlin, professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School.

He aims his clarinet like a divining rodpointed toward Brahms' body buried deepin the clay, the notes shimmering throughthe audience and pouring out the openedwindows, into the garden where the last lilacblossoms glide to the ground and iris flagsstand tall and unfold their stellar blues.The world has been so beautiful this spring,with rain falling in a random rhythm,
the tilled soil like cake in my hands,
days when high pressure built in and filledthe hills with cobalt afternoons and violet dusk,high meadows and old trees fresh with green,all the wildflowers shaking their heads"yes yes" in the wind. Now, at twilightthe night-blooming nicotiana filling the roomwith its strong perfume, my friend Andrenext to me on a sofa, bald from his third roundof chemo, smiling as he nods his headin time to the music, closing his eyeswhen the clarinet caresses the last three notes.

Dr Berlin is associate professor of psychiatry at the University of Massachusetts Medical School in Worcester. Dr Berlin recently established the Gerald F. Berlin Creative Writing Award at the University of Massachusetts Medical School, one of only a few medical student creative writing prizes in the United States.